Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Dr. Amy Broemmel

Committee Members

Dr. Nora Vines, Dr. Dorian McCoy, Dr. Ashlee Anderson


Throughout my career in education, I have observed that teachers are challenged by engaging in discussions involving race and racism. This study seeks to understand teachers’ feelings further when discussing race and racism in the elementary classroom by answering the research question: How do elementary teachers experience race and racism in their schools and classrooms?

This qualitative, critical narrative inquiry dissertation focused on three participant interviews with public-school elementary teachers in Tennessee. The data generated from these interviews informed narratives and were then analyzed through the lens of Critical Race Theory. This was followed by In Vivo and structural coding (Saladana, 2015) to identify five themes from these narratives: trust/ distrust in teachers, the value of children’s lived experiences, the importance of cultural insiders, allowing students to think critically, and providing professional development. Trustworthiness was determined from analytical memos, member checking, and peer reviews/ debriefing.

The discussion and implications were presented in Chapter Six and were compared and contrasted with relevant literature from Chapter Two of this study. Recommendations are given for researchers and practitioners in education at the end of this study.

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